November 10th, 2006
Department of Anthropology and Sociology
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As Christians, we are called to stand firm in the Lord when confronted
by enemies of the cross of Christ. In reflecting on these lessons,
I am drawn to the witness of the active faith of the Lancaster County
Amish this last October. Even in their tears, they could accept
and forgive what they could not understand. In spite of their losses,
they were able to reach out to their non-Amish neighbors in Christian
love. They did not judge, they did not respond in anger, and they
did not question God. The world observed as they conducted themselves
as models of love, forgiveness, and trust in God.
They were able to do this because they resist occupying their minds
with earthly things and instead attempt to live their lives as citizens
of heaven rather than as children of this world. This means that
they trust that the Lord has the power to bring all things, even
the horrible tragedy of the deaths of their young daughters, into
subjection to himself.
What can we learn from this? Most of us shared their grief and prayed
for the Amish families. And most of us also reacted with outrage
that such terrible things could happen in America. But did most
of us consider that the lives of those innocent Amish girls were
of equal value to the lives of innocent Iraqi children who also
died in October? Many of us also share the grief and pray for Iraqi
families. And many of us are reacting with outrage that war happens
anywhere in the world. But many of us are still too willing to accept
that war is a necessary part of living in this world. We occupy
our minds with earthly rationales that justify war and our participation
in it. Today I pray that we can stand firm in the Lord when discerning
how we should conduct ourselves in the face of violence.
to the writer of this reflection.
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